Oscar Watch: ‘Up in the Air’ Star Anna Kendrick Considers Herself a Long Shot


Anna Kendrick doesn’t expect to win an Oscar for her ferociously perky supporting turn as a corporate terminator in Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air. That, she says, is an honor earmarked for another actress, though she coyly declines to reveal the mystery winner’s identity.

Even if Kendrick, 24, is right, it would take nothing away from her remarkable breakthrough starring opposite George Clooney in Reitman’s meditation on the value of human contact in an age of digital communication. Nor would it diminish the impact of her scene-stealing performance as a vapid, shopping-obsessed teen in one of the year’s biggest blockbusters, New Moon.

Kendrick doesn’t pretend to understand the hysteria surrounding the Twilight franchise – she is, by her admission, a “Harry Potter geek” – but she has fond memories of the playful rivalry that developed between the sets of the two movies.

Twilight is so huge that there’s bound to be backlash from the cast of a movie like Up in the Air, which is so much smaller and more intimate,” she says. “Basically, George needed something to make fun of me for, because he does that with everyone. He gave me an autographed picture to give, with love, to Robert Pattinson.”

Along with Kendrick, who became the second-youngest Tony Award nominee in history for her role in 1998’s Broadway revival of High Society, Clooney and fellow Up in the Air co-star Vera Farmiga will be vying for Oscars on March 7 at the Kodak Theatre. Does Kendrick mind being in such close competition with Farmiga, whom she describes as a good friend?

“As far as Vera and I go, I was floored simply by the idea of getting to work with her,” Kendrick says. “The idea that I’d be nominated for any award in the same category as her is amazing to me. I couldn’t be happier about it.”

Whatever happens at the Oscars, Kendrick says the goal will remain the same: to keep working steadily, on stage or screen. Though she doesn’t anticipate returning to the Twilight franchise – her character, Jessica, plays an increasingly marginal role in the angst-ridden lives of that saga’s vampires and werewolves – she will soon star opposite Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the new comedy from Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright.

In the meantime, she’ll bask in the glow of the Oscar spotlight, while it lasts.

“I think of something Helen Mirren said at the Palm Springs Film Festival,” she says. “You’re only in the nomination bubble for a short period of time, and if you lose, the bubble bursts that night. If you win, it bursts 24 hours later. Either way, you go home, live your life and wake up the next day looking for work. That’s how I look at it.”

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